Cuomo's L train plan short on details
by Larry Penner
Jan 09, 2019 | 7254 views | 0 0 comments | 589 589 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement that work on the Canarsie line tunnel scheduled to start in April 2019 will be changed lacks critical details.

How much longer will it take for NYC Transit and private contractors to complete work with only overnight and weekend closures than the previously announced 15-month project?

The MTA and Department of Transportation have already spent millions in planning, environmental reviews, and design and engineering. This work was performed by experienced engineers with firsthand knowledge of how the nation's largest subway system works.

Cuomo's outside experts came from the Columbia and Cornell University world of academia. If their new design idea was used abroad, both the MTA and NYC Transit President Andy Byford, who previously ran transit systems in London and Toronto, would have discovered it.

The most cost-effective construction work is done when contractors have 24/7 access. The contractor is on site full time, mobilized with a staging area for workers, supplies and debris removal.

Forcing contractors to mobilize workers prior to tunnel access evenings and weekends increases project costs. So does having to stop work prior to resuming subway service.

Several hundred million was previously provided under a federal Super Storm Sandy Recovery and Resiliency grant in 2016. Washington doesn't pay for the same work twice.

Will the MTA have to pay back Uncle Sam for any previous design and engineering work which may be rendered useless given the new design? Will the MTA now have to update the previously approved Environmental Impact Statement for the project?

MTA and NYC Transit heads looked like a deer caught in headlights by Cuomo's announcement. Was it designed to ingratiate himself with voters rather than serve the longterm interests of riders?

When will MTA board members, NYC Transit, and DOT managers and engineers formally review and comment on this "new design" and budget impacts?

Judlau and TC Electric's winning bid of $477 million was based on the original scope of work and design proposed by the MTA. This included included 24/7 site access to both tunnels with no active subway. This contract will now have to be renegotiated.

Who will cover costs for materials previously ordered by the contractor in preparation for initiation of work in April that may now not be needed? How will the MTA find additional funding to supplement previously approved federal funding?

Cuomo is not an engineer, transportation expert or daily commuter. Cuomo does excel at photo ops when walking the tracks without wearing either a safety vest or hardhat.

Larry Penner is a Great Neck resident who worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration's New York office.
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